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FRAN­CIS House Chil­dren’s Hospice has been pro­vid­ing care for chil­dren with life-lim­it­ing con­di­tions since 1991.

Opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, it was only the fifth chil­dren’s hospice to be built in the UK.

As the char­ity cel­e­brated its 27th an­niver­sary on Novem­ber 25, chief ex­ec­u­tive David Ire­land ex­plains how the hospice has changed so many lives:

“Lit­tle did I know when I first came to meet Fa­ther Mul­heran in the mid 1980s that com­ing to Dids­bury would trans­form my life com­pletely.

“At that time I came as the ar­chi­tect for the ex­pan­sion of the of­fices of the Catholic Chil­dren’s Res­cue So­ci­ety.

“Fran­cis House had not even been thought of, and yet by May 1990 Sis­ter Aloy­sius had reg­is­tered a new char­ity and con­trac­tors had been ap­pointed to con­vert the con­vent into Fran­cis House Chil­dren’s Hospice.

“The hospice ex­ists to pro­vide respite and end of life care for chil­dren and young peo­ple with life-lim­it­ing con­di­tions and is a place of sup­port, friend­ship and rest for their fam­i­lies.

“We of­fer the whole fam­ily a lov­ing en­vi­ron­ment in times of great stress.

“The last 27 years have seen a sig­nif­i­cant change in the at­ti­tude to pae­di­atric pal­lia­tive care both in Bri­tain and through­out the world.

“Fran­cis House has been the fore­front of ex­pan­sion and de­vel­op­ment of the chil­dren’s hospice ser­vice.

“So much has changed, not least the life ex­pectancy of some of our young peo­ple.

“Med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions and im­proved meth­ods of care have meant that many of our young peo­ple are liv­ing longer.

“In 1996 Fran­cis House cared for one child over the age of 16, now more than 120 young adults reg­u­larly come through our doors.

“The last few years have seen huge steps for­ward in the way we sup­port and care for young adults.

“In­de­pen­dent re­search com­mis­sioned by Manch­ester Univer­sity into the needs of young adults in­formed the build­ing and es­tab­lish­ment of Fran­cis Lodge.

“Age-ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing seven state-of-the-art bed­rooms, were of­fi­cially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge in 2016.

“The 500 fam­i­lies who use Fran­cis House live for the mo­ment and our role is to make ev­ery mo­ment count. We help them ex­pe­ri­ence things that pro­vide good mem­o­ries that will help them in the fu­ture.

“Through­out our his­tory we have been for­tu­nate in the sup­port we re­ceive from the peo­ple of the North West. We rely on the gen­eros­ity of the wider com­mu­nity as we con­tinue to ex­pand and de­velop our ser­vices to meet an ever grow­ing need.

“Thank you all for the part that you have played in the story of Fran­cis House.” To sup­port the hospice call 0161 443 2200.

Sis­ter Aloy­sius with Diana, Princess of Wales, at the of­fi­cial open­ing of Fran­cis House Chil­dren’s Hospice

David Ire­land, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Fran­cis House

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